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Resistance to Despair: What Frida Has to Teach Writers


“I drank to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim.”

I am excited to share that my writing coach service, WRITING AS HEALING PRACTICE, is off to a great start. In the last two weeks, I shared two exciting testimonials. This week, I would like to share how visual art relates to my own writing practice as well as my coaching service. As the great poet and essayist Anne Carson reminds us, seeing poetry as a visual art allows you to see the poem as an object, something “enterable” and related to our bodies.

Lately, I’ve shared how adulthood can often bring a sense of loss, anxiety/depression, and distrust of the body, leading to despair. Frida Kahlo’s life and art, on the other hand, is a story of resistance to despair. Whether it was polio, a bus wreck, miscarriage, infidelity, or an infuriating classist society, Kahlo sharpened her fears into spears. She did not see her art as an illusion, a surreal expression of the unconscious. Instead, she turned to her paints and her complicated life to recreate her reality.

From her bold fashion sense, the use of real blood in a painting, political activism, or a pet monkey, Kahlo’s work was meant to be lived-into. If the root of health means wholeness, with her fierce imagination and unbreakable honesty, she sought to piece-together both her broken body and her classist society. I am glad that we can learn from her technique in our writing, breaking and re-shaping language.

In the end, Kahlo never became the medical doctor she wanted to be; she became a patient. But her art healed her and others, it created a powerful vision, emboldening us to join.

Writing as Healing Practice

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Understand and re-imagine personal struggles through a playful relationship to language

Healing, from the Proto-Germanic "hailjan," literally means “to make whole”

On the heels of the New Year, I am excited to officially announce my newly-designed writing coach service: WRITING AS HEALING PRACTICE. Here’s how it started. In my 5 years as writing coach and tutor, many of my clients brought a slew of emotional and spiritual struggles, leading to writers block or lack of confidence. These challenges not only impacted their personal life, but their writing. My training in ministry (M.Div.) equipped me with the tools of self-awareness, social analysis, and spiritual care. But how could I relate writing coaching to spirituality?

Luckily, in my own progress as poet, I felt that more open, meditative, and playful practices like sensory awareness, memory recall and journaling helped me understand my writing and my life; they allowed me to self-define as opposed to be defined by others. So over the course of three years, I began to boil down my writing and spirituality to three key principles: 1) awareness (sensory, emotional, social), 2) self-definition (history, flexibility of language, imagination) 3) culture-creation (publishing, speech, relationships). Through a more aware use of language—written or oral—you may restore a more agile, empowered relationship to language, oneself, and the world. Words themselves become the most versatile instruments in re-imagining personal and relational struggles.

It is also important to emphasize that, in cases of mental disorders, my writing coach service is NOT a substitute for therapy or a medical treatment plan. Although there is a growing body of research to support the physical/mental benefits of writing, with my service, healing (from Proto-Germanic *hailjan; literally, “to make whole”) is defined as partnership (or alliance) in a creative writing process that supports your development as a whole. In other words, though my approach is informed by the latest clinical research, it is centered around the aesthetical and spiritual (not the medical). Whereas a therapist offers the most well-equipped clinical approach to mental disorders and interpersonal conflicts, I offer the most well-equipped literary approach to self-understanding and social reconfiguration.

In my sessions you may:

  • Discover how personal struggles can fuel creativity

  • Explore the flexibility of language in self-definition and culture-creation

  • Gain insight into how language impacts social relationships

  • Unlock how mindfulness exercises remedy writer's block

  • Explore the techniques of other writers, filmmakers, visual artists and poets

  • Mine your memories, sensations, and surroundings for creative material

Your 60-min free trail session:

Through the Lens of Others: A General Introduction to Writing as Healing

1. Defining Your Goals (10 min)
2. Writing as Healing: definition, process, tools (10 min)
3. The Flexibility of Language: exploring the work of others (15 min)
4. Free-writing Exercise (10 min)
5. Discussion and Q&A (15 min)

OPTION B. Through the Lens of Your Story: A Customized, Theme-based Introduction

1. A Little About You (10 min)
2. Writing as Healing: definition, process, tools (10 min)
3. The Flexibility of Language: a customized, theme-based exploration of other writers (15 min)
4. Free-writing Exercise (10 min)
5. Discussion and Q&A (15 min)

To book your free 60-minute trail session, please write to or fill out the contact form with your free times as well as your desired option. Sliding scale is available.